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24/7 crisis intervention services for mental health needed immediately – Ellis

3 May, 2017 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Speaking last night in Leinster House, Sinn Féin TD Dessie Ellis said that the Fianna Fáil mental health amendment Bill has positive aspects but does not go far enough and a strong, rights-based approach should be front and centre of any legislation.

The Dublin North West TD said:

“This state over the years has abdicated its duty of care to many sections of our communities. We are slowly very slowly, coming into line where we treat all citizens of this nation equally. This motion is welcome as it is a positive improvement on current legislation.

“However, it does not go far enough as it fails to establish a strong, rights-based approach which should meet the standard set by the convention on the rights of people with a disability, which this house must ratify without delay. It does not provide for strengthening of rights to advocacy or assistance in making these decisions regarding care or no right to an independent second opinion in the determining of capacity.

“Any positive change has to be welcomed and so the amendment changing the definition of a ‘voluntary patient’ to include only people who have capacity to make their own decisions (with support if required) and who do give their consent to admission to hospital is an important distinction. Despite the changes especially in this aspect if the government does not support the work of the health services it will still not be enough.

“Access and availability of services locally and in our communities need to be resourced properly. The work being done on mental health by voluntary groups and individuals are saving this country money and more importantly lives. I commend all those who give time, energy, and commitment but at the moment there is a huge deficit in our system as at weekends or after hours on a weekday, services are not available.

“A 24/7 crisis intervention services for mental health is needed immediately.” 

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